Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Dragon's Den

Young indigenious entrepreneurs from all Barents countries met in Naryan-Mar.

60 young indigenous entrepreneurs from all corners of the Barents region met at a conference in Naryan-Mar on September 27-30. The conference was held as part of the Indigee project and aimed at giving the entrepreneurs a place for discussing and developing business ideas.


The organizers had prepared very an intensive and interesting program for the participants. One part of the program was the exercise “Dragon’s Den”. Some of you might be familiar to the TV-program Dragon’s Den, in which entrepreneurs present their business ideas to investors (dragons). In Naryan-Mar the participants did the same thing. This was however only a presentation exercise with consultants instead of investors is the role as dragons. The dragons helped the participants to answer questions like: What is your business about? Who are your customers? Why will your business idea be successful? These kinds of questions can be hard to answer in a short and understandable manner. Even more if you have only one minute to do it.

During the conference indigenous entrepreneurs visited several seminars about investor relations, communication strategy, customer service, marketing, product communication etc.

- The Indigee project is very important and useful for me. Thanks to the project I feel more confident in business. During this year we have found investors, bought new equipment, expended the product line and got a few large orders for traditional Nenets costumes said Victoria Vylka, entrepreneur, owner of Nenets sewing shop from the small Krasnoe settlement in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. - And above all, I have now a lot of friends in Barents region, Vylka added.

This conference became third and final stage for the project. Earlier meetings were held in Sweden and Finland. All project participants belong to Barents indigenous peoples: The Saami, the Nenets, the Komi and the Veps. And they wanting to create their own business project or develop existing business. The project aims at developing entrepreneurship among indigenous youth in the Barents region. The participating entrepreneurs have enterprises or business ideas closely related to indigenous culture and traditions, such as reindeer herding, handicraft, fishing and hunting, but also newer areas of business such as tourism, modern design, photography etc.

The project aims to increase business enterprises, employment and cross-border cooperation among indigenous youth and to establish a network for young indigenous entrepreneurs in the Barents region

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Written by Andrey Vokuev, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat’s Information Office in Naryan-Mar.